Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hubble Photographs Galaxies' Near Collision

Date:
November 4, 1999
Source:
Space Telescope Science Institute
Summary:
In the direction of the constellation Canis Major, two spiral galaxies pass by each other like majestic ships in the night. The near-collision has been caught in images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and its Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.

A GRAZING ENCOUNTER BETWEEN TWO SPIRAL GALAXIES

Related Articles


In the direction of the constellation Canis Major, two spiral galaxies pass by each other like majestic ships in the night. The near-collision has been caught in images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and its Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.

The larger and more massive galaxy is cataloged as NGC 2207 (on the left in the Hubble Heritage image), and the smaller one on the right is IC 2163. Strong tidal forces from NGC 2207 have distorted the shape of IC 2163, flinging out stars and gas into long streamers stretching out a hundred thousand light-years toward the right-hand edge of the image.

Computer simulations, carried out by a team led by Bruce and Debra Elmegreen, demonstrate the leisurely timescale over which galactic collisions occur. In addition to the Hubble images, measurements made with the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array Radio Telescope in New Mexico reveal the motions of the galaxies and aid the reconstruction of the collision.

The calculations indicate that IC 2163 is swinging past NGC 2207 in a counterclockwise direction, having made its closest approach 40 million years ago. However, IC 2163 does not have sufficient energy to escape from the gravitational pull of NGC 2207, and is destined to be pulled back and swing past the larger galaxy again in the future.

The high resolution of the Hubble telescope image reveals dust lanes in the spiral arms of NGC 2207, clearly silhouetted against IC 2163, which is in the background. Hubble also reveals a series of parallel dust filaments extending like fine brush strokes along the tidally stretched material on the right-hand side. The large concentrations of gas and dust in both galaxies may well erupt into regions of active star formation in the near future.

Trapped in their mutual orbit around each other, these two galaxies will continue to distort and disrupt each other. Eventually, billions of years from now, they will merge into a single, more massive galaxy. It is believed that many present-day galaxies, including the Milky Way, were assembled from a similar process of coalescence of smaller galaxies occurring over billions of years.

This image was created from 3 separate pointings of Hubble. The Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 data sets were obtained by Debra Meloy Elmegreen (Vassar College), Bruce G. Elmegreen (IBM Research Division), Michele Kaufman (Ohio State U.), Elias Brinks (Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico), Curt Struck (Iowa State University), Magnus Thomasson (Onsala Space Obs., Sweden), Maria Sundin (Goteborg University, Sweden), and Mario Klaric (Columbia, South Carolina).

Image Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)

NOTE TO EDITORS: For additional information, please contact:

Debra Meloy Elmegreen, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604 (phone: 914-437-7356, e-mail: elmegreen@vaxsar.vassar.edu) or

Bruce G. Elmegreen, IBM Research Division, T.J. Watson Research Center P.O. Box 218, Route 134, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598, USA, (phone: 914-945-2448, e-mail: bge@watson.ibm.com).

Image files are available on the Internet at:
http://heritage.stsci.edu/
http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/1999/41 or via links in
http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/latest.html and
http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pictures.html

Higher resolution digital versions (300 dpi JPEG and TIFF)are available at:
http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/1999/41/pr-photos.html and
http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/1999/41/extra-photos.html

STScI press releases and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to "public-request@stsci.edu." In the body of the message (not the subject line) type the word "subscribe" (don't use quotes). The system will respond with a confirmation of the subscription, and users will receive new press releases as they are issued. To unsubscribe, send mail to "public-request@stsci.edu." Leave the subject line blank, and type "unsubscribe" (don't use quotes) in the body of the message.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Space Telescope Science Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Space Telescope Science Institute. "Hubble Photographs Galaxies' Near Collision." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991104072021.htm>.
Space Telescope Science Institute. (1999, November 4). Hubble Photographs Galaxies' Near Collision. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991104072021.htm
Space Telescope Science Institute. "Hubble Photographs Galaxies' Near Collision." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/11/991104072021.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Hole 12 Billion Times the Size of Sun Discovered at Dawn of Universe

Black Hole 12 Billion Times the Size of Sun Discovered at Dawn of Universe

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) Scientists are saying they&apos;ve spotted a black hole 12 billion time bigger than the sun. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Spots Two Bright Points On Ceres

NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Spots Two Bright Points On Ceres

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) NASA scientists still don&apos;t have a clear picture of the bright spots showing up on the surface of Ceres, a minor planet in the asteroid belt. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Astronauts Rig Station for New U.S. Space Taxis

Astronauts Rig Station for New U.S. Space Taxis

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) U.S. astronauts float outside the International Space Station to rig parking spots for two commercial space taxis. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Leaks Into Astronaut's Helmet

Water Leaks Into Astronaut's Helmet

Reuters - US Online Video (Feb. 25, 2015) A dramatic finish to a spacewalk as NASA astronaut Terry Virts&apos; helmet pools with water. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins